France's TotalEnergies says its Adani exposure limited

PARIS, Feb 3 (Reuters) - TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) said on Friday its exposure to ventures with India's Adani Group was limited and that it had not revalued its stakes in Adani Total Gas (ADAG.NS) and Adani Green Energy (ADNA.NS) after sharp falls in their share prices.

Shares in Adani Group firms have plummeted in the past week after U.S. short seller Hindenburg Research's Jan. 24 report questioning its debt levels and use of tax havens. Adani has called the report baseless and said its financials are strong.

The French oil and gas major said on Friday it has a 37.4% stake in Adani Total Gas (ATGL) and a 19.75% stake in Adani Green Energy (AGEL). It also holds a 25% interest in Adani New Industries, a green hydrogen venture.

Adani Total Gas shares have plunged by nearly 60% since the release of the Hindenburg report, wiping almost $30 billion off the company's market capitalisation. The market value of Adani Green Energy, meanwhile, has dropped by more than 50%.

"These investments being accounted for under the equity method, TotalEnergies has not performed any re-evaluation in its accounts of its stakes in the listed entities ATGL and AGEL," Total said in a statement.

TotalEnergies' partnership with Adani Group began in 2018, and including its stake in other ventures, the French group's exposure is limited to 2.4% of its capital employed, it said.

Its investments were undertaken in compliance with Indian laws and its own governance process, TotalEnergies said.

The French company is expected to announce a record profit for 2022 when it announces results Feb. 8, even as it writes off some $14.4 billion on its stake in Russian group Novatek.

Oswald Clint, an analyst at Alliance Bernstein, said that the Adani investments collectively earned about $40 million for TotalEnergies last year.

"This represents just 0.1% of the $35.1 billion of net income that we expect TotalEnergies to (post for) 2022," Clint wrote in an investment note earlier this week.

TotalEnergies' stake in Adani Green Energy, the world's largest developer of hybrid wind/solar power farms, came under scrutiny in September when analysts pointed out that one credit ratings agency viewed AGEL as "extremely overleveraged".

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne said at the time that he was "not uncomfortable" with the risk level of the investment and that "the balance sheet is safe for me ... it's not a pile of debt, they are developing projects which have some revenues."

Pouyanne added in September that TotalEnergies had purchased its AGEL stake for $2 billion, a value he estimated to have risen to $10 billion in late 2022.

But since the fall in AGEL's share price, TotalEnergies' stake is now worth around $3.96 billion.

Meanwhile its stake in Adani Gas, for which TotalEnergies said it paid a net $600 million in 2019, is now still worth some $8.56 billion after this week's stock slide.

Additional reporting by Tanvi Mehta and Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.